One metric that helps illustrate how much attention a nation is giving to education is the teacher-to-student ratio. Recently South East Asia Globe magazine ran an article by Frédéric Janssens who had gathered the best available data on teacher ratios across SE Asia. This was for primary schools. Alas, Cambodian children fare not just worst, but worse by a wide margin even compared to near neighbours Myanmar and Laos.
This is a problem, and it is not helped by a shortage of primary teachers in part because they are paid very poorly. Many professional teachers have opted to teach in secondary schools instead. The problem is not just that primary schools get a skinnier slice of the education spend, but that the pie itself is woefully small even when expressed as a percentage of the Government’s overall spend.
While Singapore’s government invests almost one dollar in every four into education, the Cambodian government allocates just one dollar in every 8*, and that’s despite the burgeoning number of children in the school-age cohort.
The figures date from 2010-2012.
For more on the subject of Cambodian primary teachers and their pay – click here.
Savong’s School plans to open Primary School classes in October 2014 and the plan is to limit classes to so students per teacher. For more about these plans click here.
For Cambodian education spending projections, 2014-2018, click here.
* These figures suggest 12.4% of Government spending. Comparative UNESCO figures suggest 13.5% of Cambodia’s GDP.